Christopher Carstens

In Encountering the Words of Christ in the Mass, Christopher Carstens reflects upon the third edition of the Roman Missal, giving particular attention to the changes in the Mass texts.

Christopher Carstens holds a B.A. from the Oratory of St. Philip in Toronto, and M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Dallas and a M.A. (Liturgical Studies) from The Liturgical Institute. He is currently the Director of the Office of Sacred Worship for the Diocese of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, where he serves as Coordinator of Pontifical Liturgies, liturgical coordinator for the Permanent Deacon formation program, and diocesan Director of RCIA. He is an adjunct faculty member at the Liturgical Institute and a frequent presenter in liturgical conferences and parish education. He is a member of the Society for Catholic Liturgy and is married with four children. Mr. Carstens is one of the presenters of Mystical Body, Mystical Voice.

Todd WilliamsonIn this blog, Praying, Believing, and Living, D. Todd Williamson discusses the pastoral, spiritual, and ministerial ramifications of the revised English translation of the Roman Missal.  Todd's blog is updated every other week.

Todd Williamson is the current Director of the Office for Divine Worship of the Archdiocese of Chicago. He is the author of two editions of Sourcebook for Sundays, Seasons, and Weekdays:The Almanac for Pastoral Liturgy (2007 and 2008, LTP) and has contributed to subsequent editions. He is also co-author of Bringing Catechesis and Liturgy Together: Let the Mystery Lead You! (2002, TwentyThird Publications), and he has written for numerous periodicals (Rite, Pastoral Liturgy, Catechumenate, and Religion Teacher's Journal).

In addition to writing, he is a teacher and national speaker in the areas of liturgy and the sacraments. He is co-host of the monthly radio program, Focus on the Liturgy, which airs on the fourth Wednesday of every month on Relevant Radio 950 AM, in the Chicagoland area.

Todd has been the director of the Office for Divine Worship for eight years. As such, he has dealt with countless pastoral situations in regards to the liturgy. It is from this unique experience that he writes in this blog: breaking open the English texts and making connections to our spiritual and ministerial lives as people of faith.

A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Sandra Dooley moved to Los Angeles in 1999 after 18 years in Orlando, FL. where she spent 10 years as the liturgy director of St. Margaret Mary Parish in Winter Park. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a Master of Pastoral Studies degree from Loyola University in New Orleans, with emphasis in liturgy. She is an experienced church musician, religious educator and liturgist, and has been a committee member, coordinator and/or speaker at local and national conferences.

In June, 2001, Sandra joined the Office for Worship of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as Associate Director. She was Director of the Office from April, 2003 through July, 2009. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC) from 2004 until her return to FL in 2009.

Sandy currently serves as the director of liturgy at St. Margaret Mary Church in Winter Park, FL, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the North American Forum on the Catechumenate.


Blog Posts
Jun 9

Written by: Todd Williamson
6/9/2010 8:29 AM  RssIcon

One of the characteristics most often discussed regarding the English translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal is that the biblical allusions from the Latin texts are much more obvious.

I have to admit that I like the premise here. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy makes the point several times that in the renewal of the liturgy, the inherent connection to Sacred Scripture is to be brought out more clearly. In addressing the proclamation of scripture in the Liturgy of the Word, the Constitution notes that “the treasures of the bible are to be opened up more lavishly, so that richer fare may be provided for the faithful at the table of God's word” (CSL, 51). As we know, that call has resulted in the three-year cycle of readings which we now have.

Even more pointedly, the Constitution holds that “sacred scripture is of the greatest importance in the celebration of the liturgy. For it is from scripture that lessons are read and explained in the homily, and psalms are sung; the prayers, collects, and liturgical songs are scriptural in their inspiration and their force (emphasis added), and it is from the scriptures that actions and signs derive their meaning” (CSL, 24). In other words, the very texts of the Mass are derived from and rooted in the scriptures.

One of the parts of the Mass where I think this principle from the Constitution is most obvious in the revised English translation, is the invitation to Holy Communion. In the revised translation, the priest-celebrant will say, “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.” Then the whole liturgical assembly will respond, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

The scriptural image of the wedding feast of the Lamb has always been a favorite of mine. In the great marriage between God and humanity, that wonderful image of a wedding feast—a banquet—has stood for two thousand years as the icon through which we are to see our state before God. We are “guests at the banquet”—so loved are we in the eyes of God. This imagery is so evident—blatant—in this translation of the ritual exchange.

The response of the whole liturgical assembly to this invitation is equally steeped in scripture. Obviously, it comes from the story of Christ curing the servant of the centurion. That account is chronicled in both Luke and in Matthew.

However, for me, the account that makes the greater connection of that story with what we are doing at this moment in the liturgy is the account of Matthew. For it is only in Matthew that Christ gives indication, after those words of the centurion (remember, a gentile and thus one who is seen as being outside the promises and care of God), that even he, a Roman centurion, can have a place at the heavenly banquet. “I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:11, NAB).

By placing those words of faith from the centurion on my lips, the liturgy stirs in me the same kind of faith—that I, too, might find a place at the heavenly banquet! And even as that faith is stirred in me, I hear Christ’s words, “you may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you” (Matthew 8:13, NAB). If the centurion can have a place at the banquet, then surely there’s hope for me—for all of us!

This is exactly the kind of faith that is meant to be stirred in us at this moment in the Liturgy— the very invitation to Holy Communion and our response!

Often, many people see the emphasis on our unworthiness in the response to the invitation to Holy Communion (“Lord, I am not worthy…”). While obviously that is still present in the revised English translation, I now see the emphasis on the hope that is stirred, that we, too, may be counted among the guests at that great heavenly wedding banquet.

This is just one example of how I see this characteristic of the revised English translation in action—i.e., that the scriptural allusions are more pronounced.

I’m curious—how do you read these texts of the invitation to Holy Communion?


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